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After THE END: I thought I lived in the real world
It was nearly eleven o’clock and I was going to be late. I hurried through the train station, hoping to make it in time. I finally got there: Platform 9 ¾. Holding my cart tightly, I ran straight for the barrier — and crashed. Then everything went dark.
“Nicole?” a voice called from above. “Nicole, are you all right?”
Nicole Carter opened her eyes slowly and saw her best friend Jason Looneywarde looking down at her. He was a tall boy, with slightly long, black hair and light blue eyes.
“Where am I?” she asked.
“Umm, you’re at school,” Jason replied. “Actually, you’re kinda lying down in the hallway, blocking everyone’s way.”
Nicole immediately sat up and then went red. She was a short, slightly pale girl, with dark brownish-red hair and hazel eyes. And there she was actually sitting on the floor, her books thrown everywhere, with Jason kneeling beside her.
She groaned and asked, “What happened?”
“You tripped and fell and your books went flying everywhere. Good thing I was coming to see you at your locker. You were reading again, weren’t you?” Jason looked a little upset.
Nicole looked down, and there was the second Harry Potter book in her hand.
“Sorry, Jason,” she apologized to him, as he was already picking up her books. She went to help him, trying to avoid the looks she was getting from everyone.
“I thought I told you never to read while walking, especially in these crowded hallways,” Jason said, but Nicole could already tell that she was forgiven by the smile that tugged at the corner of his lips. Jason never stayed mad at her for long.
“I promise I’ll make it up to you,” she said.
“Well, I have a way you could do that. You can come with me to the science convention in Calgary tonight. It’s supposed to be awesome.” Jason looked like he had been dying to tell her this.
Nicole had to stop herself from rolling her eyes. She could never understand how someone, let alone her best friend, could be interested in things as geeky as science conventions.
“Yeah, I think I can. My parents are going to be out again tonight, so I’m sure they won’t mind.” She did owe him, after all.
Jason’s face lit up at this, which made Nicole smile. She took her books from him and they both headed to homeroom.
“What were you reading, anyway?” Jason asked. Nicole tried to hide away the book, but he was too quick for her.
“Harry Potter again?” he asked, disappointed. “God, Nicole, I don’t know why you read these stupid fantasy books. I mean, none of this stuff is real!”
“I wish it were,” Nicole muttered under her breath, but Jason heard her.
“Nicole, you’ve got to stop living in these fantasy worlds and get back to the real world.”
“What real world, Jason? You mean, the world where we are both nobodies, at the bottom of the high school food chain? The world where our parents barely notice that we exist? Yeah, I’d totally prefer that to the magical wonderland of Harry Potter.”
“At least we have each other,” Jason responded, looking a little hurt.
“Of course I know I have you, Jason. But sometimes I wish I could have more.”
“You know what I wish for? I wish to get outta here so that I could be one of the scientists at the next science convention. Now there’s something to want in this world.” Jason went off on this whole tangent about all the cool inventions that were going to be at the convention that night, to none of which Nicole paid attention.
They finally reached their homeroom and went to take their seats in the back. Their homeroom teacher, Mrs. Weinhart, was trying to get everyone to quiet down.
Nicole turned to Jason. “You know, you could try reading some of these books. You might actually like them. And then you can help me with my website.” Nicole had created a site for fans of Harry Potter, Twilight and Lord of the Rings (for she was an avid fan of all three), where they could discuss and compare all three series.
Jason snorted. “I’d rather enter a live volcano than read any of those books.”
Just then the final bell rang and everyone quieted down a little as the announcements came on. Nicole went back to her book, just at the part where Harry and Ron realize they couldn’t get through the barrier to catch the train to Hogwarts. Suddenly, the door to the classroom flew open and in walked two tall boys.
One had jet-black, messy hair and what looked like taped-up glasses and the other had well-groomed blond hair, a sharp nose and an unhappy look on his face. The black-haired boy wore a regular blue T-shirt and jeans, but the blond-haired one wore a black shirt and black pants, along with a black overcoat on top.
Mrs. Weinhart had already gotten up and was clearing her throat. “Everyone, please, if you could pay attention for a moment. I’d like to introduce these two young men, who are exchange students all the way from England. Would you like to introduce yourselves to the homeroom?”
“Homeroom?” the blond-haired one said to the dark-haired one. “I thought we were at their school?”
The black-haired boy tried to pinch him secretly, but Nicole noticed. But the rest of the class was too busy in their own lives to pay attention.
“Er, yeah, sure. I’m Harry, er, Harry James,” the black-haired boy said, as though he was a little unsure of himself. “And this is Dra- I mean, Jonathan. My brother, Jonathan James.”
The blond-haired boy scowled at this, but then Mrs. Weinhart said,” Welcome, Harry and Jonathan James. I hope you enjoy your stay here in Banff, Alberta. You may take your seats. Harry, why don’t you sit behind Miss Carter there in the red shirt, and Jonathan, you may sit next to Harry, behind Mr. Looneywarde. “
As Harry and Jonathan passed by Nicole to take the seats behind her, Jonathan whispered in a whining tone, “Jonathan James? What a pathetic name! Why do you get to keep your name and I have to change mine?”
“Will you keep it down?” Harry hushed at him. “Your real name is too weird. Jonathan was the best I could come up with in two seconds.”
“Yeah, I guess it’s better than Looneywarde,” Jonathan snickered. Jason turned around to glare at him, but Nicole was barely paying attention. She had noticed something very strange on Harry’s forehead as he was walking by; it looked like a lightning-shaped scar.
After homeroom, Jason and Nicole headed separate ways for their first class, but Nicole didn’t get very far. Within a few moments, someone ambushed her. A pair of hands covered her eyes, and someone led her into another room, for she heard a door shut. Finally, when the person let her go, she realized she was standing in the janitor’s closest, facing none other than Harry and Jonathan James.
“What the hell are you doing?” Nicole asked in shock.
“We’re sorry we had to do that, but we needed to talk to you alone,” Harry said. “You are Nicole Carter, right?”
“Yes, but how do you know that? Who are you guys? And what on earth are we doing in the janitor’s closet?” Nicole could literally not believe her eyes. Was she really standing in a smelly old closet, facing the two English exchange students she had just met in homeroom?
“Nicole Carter, the girl who made the website scarredvampirering.com, where people blog about Harry Potter, Twilight, and Lord of the Rings?” Harry asked her, ignoring her other questions.
“You know my website?” she asked, feeling like she was getting somewhere now. “Are you guys, like, fans or something?”
“Er, not really,” Harry said, and he looked like he was about to say something else when Jonathan interrupted.
“Enough already! I’m tired of yapping with this stupid Muggle. Let’s just tell her why we’re here, see if she knows anything important and then erase her memory.” Jonathan smiled at this.
“Draco, we need to explain things carefully, otherwise she isn’t going to believe us,” Harry told him.
“Draco?” Nicole asked. “I thought your name was Jonathan.”
“No, it is not, Jonathan is a stupid name. My name is Malfoy, Draco Malfoy, of the prestigious Malfoy family, and I don’t know what I’m doing here actually talking to a filthy Muggle!” Jonathan — er, Draco — seemed to get redder as he got angrier.
“Let me explain,” Harry said calmly. “I’m Harry Potter and this is Draco Malfoy. We are not actually exchange students. We’re wizards from Hogwarts.”
Nicole looked from Harry to Draco, and then burst out laughing.
“Haha, that’s very funny. Right, you’re Harry Potter, he’s Draco Malfoy, and me, I’m Hermione Granger. Nice to meet you all!” She continued laughing until Harry broke in.
“We’re not joking. We really are Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy.”
“Sure you are,” Nicole said sarcastically. “This is quite a good joke, actually. I’ve never had fans of my site actually pretend to be the characters before.”
“You’ve got this all wrong,” Harry insisted. “Look, I even have the scar.” He lifted up his messy hair to reveal a lightning-shaped scar.
“Great. I think you can get, like, a dozen of those scar tattoos for a buck at Walmart,” Nicole replied, still smiling.
“I told you this was a dumb idea, Potter,” Draco said suddenly as he drew something from his pocket.
“Oh, look, you even have fake wands!” Nicole said, snatching the wooden stick from Draco. “Hee hee, do you have one, too, Harry, if that’s your real name?”
“Give me back my wand!” Draco whined as he tried to grab it.
“Enough!” Harry said. “Fine, you don’t believe us. At least try and let us explain it to you later. Can we come to your place this afternoon, once classes are over?”
“Um, I don’t know,” Nicole said. Suddenly, these weird, crazy, look-alike fans seemed stalkerish.
“It would be better if we could discuss this in a better place,” Harry continued.
“Really? Here I was thinking a broom closet is a great place to discuss this,” Draco said sarcastically.
Nicole heard the final bell ring outside and decided the best way to get rid of these two was to pretend to agree to their plans. “Fine, fine, you can come by. But not right after school, I have to go somewhere. Why don’t you come by around eight?”
“Thank you,” Harry said. “We already know where your house is, so we don’t need directions.” He opened the closet door and walked out, followed by an angry-looking Draco. Nicole, who just realized her idea of giving them the wrong address was not going to work, headed off to class, wondering if she had hit her head when she fell that morning.